Lady Savage Heat squad defeats alumni

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HOT SPRINGS High School player Brianna Gray and Hot Springs alumni player Tiffany Prongua battle each other to grab a rebound after a free throw attempt in the first half of the Hot Springs Alumni basketball game Friday night at Hot Springs High School gymnasium. (Jason Blasco/Valley Press)

HOT SPRINGS — The Hot Springs High School girls basketball team was searching for more than just another victory or working on their game in the summer months when they took on their Alumni team Friday night at the Hot Springs Gymnasium.

The Lady Savage Heat was also in search of bragging rights.

The High School team was able to secure the lead they had a strangle-hold on for most of the game and eventually won 27-17 in front of several current and former students, and members of the community.

Current Lady Savage Heat coach Eddie Jackson noticed the alumni building momentum in the second half as they began to find their rhythm after not playing basketball on a regular basis for several seasons.

With momentum shifting in favor of the Alumni, Jackson called a timeout to settle his team down.

“I told my girls some of these alumni players have even gone to state,” Jackson said. “I knew if they built momentum, these girls can shoot the ball lights out. If we give them an opportunity to get comfortable, they were going to come back and get us.”

The fundraiser served a couple of purposes, according to Jackson. Jackson wants his 2017-2018 Savage Heat team to play some “bigger, stronger, and faster” competition to adequately prepare them for the upcoming season. The Lady Savage Heat are currently in a conference with the Arlee Scarlets, a team that finished second in last year’s Class C state basketball championship before falling to Belt in the title game in Belgrade.

The portion of the funds raised at the game will go towards the “Just Do Something” Scholarship, formerly known as Graduation Matters.

According to Rachel Berge, a graduate and former basketball player for Hot Springs in 2001, she said this was her first experience on the court in years.

“It was an opportunity to get to play again,” Berge said. “Oh man, it makes you feel old and makes me realize that I am not that age anymore. Most of us on the alumni team haven’t touched a basketball in years and communicating with each other was just like old times.”

Berge not only got a chance to play together with former teammates but also said she enjoyed helping raise money and awareness for a good cause.

“It was a great opportunity to play and raise money for a scholarship,” Berge said.

Current Hot Springs players Stacy Gray said the game between the current players and the alumni was “more than just a game.”

“All of the alumni are really competitive,” Gray said. “If you aren’t careful, it could get pretty messy.”

Gray also expressed her gratitude that she was doing something “good” for the community and also had fun defeating the alumni.

“It was really fun beating the older people,” Gray said.

The Hot Springs basketball team will reserve the bragging rights until they meet next year.

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